PRAYER, FASTING AND ALMSGIVING

February 19, 2018

HIS BEATITUDE SVIATOSLAV SPEAKS ABOUT THE GOALS OF THE GREAT FAST

The journey on which we presently find ourselves is a great time - the time of the Great Fast, Holy Lent. The Holy Fathers and the Church refer to this period as the spiritual springtime, when our soul, our spirit needs to wake up and become filled with God, with the light of God.

This is how the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav spoke of the importance of the annual church season of Lent - The Great Fast.

He continued…

There are three rules, three principles by which we will experience the Great fast in a proper, profound and fruitful manner.

"These three rules are: prayer, fasting and almsgiving [acts of mercy]. We enter the period of the Great Fast as a great prayer, especially penitential prayer. During this time of movement toward the Pascha of our Lord I want to encourage and ask all faithful people, all the faithful of our Church to dedicate more time to God - especially to conversation with Him."

His Beatitude stressed that prayer - is nothing other than a deep personal communication between God and man. "whether this is personal prayer, or common prayer, let us find time for God. Let us dedicate the time of Lent to Him and open our hearts to Him, open our thoughts, pains and wounds. Let us place all our needs in His hands. Let's hang out with Him".

The second condition - is actual fasting. "It concerns the restraining from all thatg which distracts us from encountering and meeting God. During the Great Fast let us abstain from all that which distracts and wastes our time. Let us recognize our spiritual shortcomings. Let us rise to do battle with our passions. Let us avoid that which leads us to sin. Let this denial be for us a fast of the soul and body."

Acts of mercy are the third and very important constituent of this fasting period. "let us perform acts of mercy. Let us turn our attention to the needs of our neighbours. When we spend time with God, we learn to feel His presence. In those people that are in need, let us learn to see the presence of the eternal living God, Who said, "that which you do to the least of my children, that you do for me. Therefore at this time let us give alms, while perhaps denying ourselves some pleasure or entertainment… the money we save, we can give it to the poor and the needy."

"I wish for each of you a profound and spiritual experience of the nearness of God, an experience of awakening and spiritual healing, an experience of mercy. May the Lord God help us and draw us near to Him."

[Source: UGCC Information Department]


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